Visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his joint address to the media with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, said he instructed his delegation to explore the possibility of increasing Sri Lanka’s trade connectivity to the Central Asian region through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) t called by him as a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Pakistani leader arrived in Sri Lanka to a rousing welcome yesterday. Mr Rajapaksa received him at the airport. Afterwards, the two Prime Ministers, flanked by their delegations, held bilateral talks.
In his remarks after the talks, the Pakistani Prime Minister said, “Pakistan is part of China’s BRI. CPEC is one of its flagship projects. It means connectivity. And, I asked my delegation here to find ways and means where we can enhance our trade and connectivity, and through CPEC right up to Central Asia for Sri Lanka. We also discussed other areas where we can enhance our trading ties,”
He asserted that Sri Lanka could benefit from Pakistan’s connectivity to Central Asia.
“Our trading ties mean the two countries will get together,” he said.
He started his remarks with reference to his cricketing career and links with Sri Lanka. He said he was not a stranger to Sri Lanka.
“I came the first time when I was just out of the university. When you were starting your political career, I was starting my cricketing career,” he told Prime Minister Rajapaksa.
He commented on terrorism that plagued both countries. He said Pakistan was happy that it played its part in helping Sri Lanka overcome terrorism that afflicted the country for 30 years. Also, he said Pakistan suffered from terrorism for ten years and lost 70,000 lives. (Kelum Bandara)